Monday, January 30, 2017


From the beginning I was quiet about it on my social media accounts because I feared something might go wrong and we wouldn't get the house. Eventually I was just like, ok I dont care. We JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE!! I started to post subliminal pictures on my snapchat of an empty lot and add a house emoji. I did it to track progress in a fun way until more development had been made. Those who knew me already knew what it meant because I was so excited I never shut up haha Talking about how we customized our home and having one built from the ground up was nothing but a blessing! Since sharing more pictures and posts many people have asked me questions...Like, how we did it/ cost etc...I made a post to talk about our home buying experience because I get so many of the same questions haha *Im no real estate agent Im just talking about what we did and explaining from my level of understanding on what I can* Bare with me & enjoy, its a long one!
What made us want to buy a house? That part was really random haha we use to have bible study at our house on Tuesdays and one of the couples that attends started talking about a home improvement show on HGTV and how a house up the street from them was for sale & they were interested in buying. The show sounded good so one night we started watching and saw a young set of home owners & Bryan was like "hey that could be us...maybe we should start looking". At first I thought he was joking until he started to make valid points: if I got deployed he would need help with the kids so we should be closer than 2hrs away, we can baby proof the house exactly how we want it....the list went on. So in March of 2016 we(mostly him because I was pregnant and too hormonal to have the patience) started looking at listings.
•Why did we choose to have a new build instead of one that was already built? Those HGTV shows kinda pushed us in the route we chose. They showed people buying homes that were 10+ years old and had plumbing issues etc then houses 20+ years older had asbestos, unstable foundation, mold etc etc. Not every home was like that but with a child, one on the way & both of us working full time a "fixer upper" was out of the question.
•How do you know what price range to look into? For starters we weren't looking into million dollar homes. My logic was that in case one of us lost a job that we can still afford a roof over our head. 300-400k was our price range. Plus, when you start shopping around for home loans you can ask what you're pre approved for. They'll give you a number and you can base your house hunting on that.
•What area did we buy our home in? If you know me then I have no issue telling you exactly where whenever you ask privately. Because Im making this public to everyone on the internet, to people I may not know, I don't want creeps showing up at my place. Our San Diego home we were renting was in East county and I would have loved nothing more than to buy a home closer to the beach but I had to be realistic. Homes in our price range near the beach were practically smurf homes because they were so tiny or millionaire mansions we couldn't afford.... so we went North of SD county. Like, NORTH haha
•Ok, we found the home we wanted now what? After walking endless model homes we found the one we liked and the sales agent gave us a loan paper to fill out to see how much we qualified for through their "in home" lender(their preferred lender). The paperwork for the loan required tax statements, socials, pay stubs...basically all the adult paperwork your parents tell you not to loose. After submitting everything it took a few days for them to let us know how much of a loan we were approved for. We got approved for way more than what our price range was so we knew the house we wanted was attainable! We went back on the weekend to proceed with a contract and brought a real estate agent with us to answer questions and make sure the sales agent wasn't pulling a fast one on us because of our young age.
•How much do you have to pay real estate agents? ZERO dollars! Their job is to help you find a home and they get paid commission if you do from wherever they work once you close and get the keys. No one told us that when we first started looking that's why we did most of the looking on our own smh. So if you're interested in buying then find a real estate agent and give them your wishlist-must haves-compromises-price range and let them bring you options. Saves you a lot of headache, trust me!
•How much was our down payment? Being in the military we're fortunate enough to have this thing called a "VA loan" so we put zero money down. Well, our builders required 1000$ deposit to open escrow sooo I guess that's all we put down. The house next to us is selling for 380k and I called to ask about it for a friend and the realtor said if they weren't military they'd need 20k down. The model home is selling for 470k and the down payment is 80k.
•What's the VA loan? Since I barely understand it myself Im just gonna give you the google definition of it: "The Department of Veterans Affairs does not issue VA Home Loans, but guarantees a portion of each mortgage to be paid in the event that the purchaser is unable to fulfill the loan. Interested homebuyers can apply with approved banks and financial institutions, which have the ability to extend financing on homes through the VA Loan program. The VA Home Loan program is specifically for veterans, active military and surviving military spouses, although there are a few basic service requirements each must initially meet. Those interested likely meet the service requirements if the potential homebuyer served 181 days on active duty during peacetime; 90 days on active duty during wartime; or served six years in the Reserves or National Guard - unless otherwise eligible"
•How much was our home? Base price without upgrades was 326K. We changed the layout from a three car garage to a two, extended the great room, turned the five bedroom into a four and added a loft. Each building change had a separate charge and that brought our home cost up. I cant remember what it brought the cost up to on that day but it was going to go up more once we we went to the design studio.
•Did we really customize everything? YES! My favorite and most exhausting part was going to Irvine to pick out floors, sink faucets, lights etc. Interior designers are there to help you make your dream designs come to life and all flow nicely. But keep in mind, everything you add at the design studio bumps your buy price up.
•After upgrades how much was our home completely? 357k. If you go new home route ask for "in home lender" specials. If you use their preferred choice lender you get way more incentives. Because we went with their choice we got 5000$ towards upgrades, 10,000$ to cover closing costs, all new appliances & a brand new washer/dryer. SCORE!! That was a blessing! Since we moved in we did some yard work because the backyards are just dirt. With the addition of a basketball court, patio cover and grass it was another 7k.
•How long were we in escrow? With a new build you're in escrow until you first sign the contract all the way until the house is done being built. For us it was nearly six months! When you're in escrow you have to keep your credit in tip top shape, dont take out any loans & constantly turn in all kinds of paperwork. So stressful! Any little thing can screw up your home buying. We walked on egg shells until literally a few days after our FINAL loan was officially approved. Sighs of relief are still happening haha
I think I answered the most common questions people ask me but if I didn't comment below or just send me a private message! Still decorating and planning on painting this month. Cant wait to make memories :) thanks for reading!
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